Music sales in Japan fell 4.6% to ¥297.9bn ($2.5bn) in 2014, according to Billboard’s analysis of figures published by industry body the RIAJ. And yes, a drop in physical sales was the cause, in a market where CDs still account for the lion’s share of music sales. In fact, physical sales were down 6% to ¥254.2bn – still just over 85% of the market, with CDs accounting for 63% of overall revenues (the rest of the physical market is essentially video releases). 

So how about the digital market in Japan? Billboard reports that it was up just 5% to ¥43.7bn ($368m), with streaming a mere ¥7.8bn – 2.6% of the overall market. This is hardly surprising, of course, since the global streaming services have yet to launch in Japan bar homegrown Sony Music Unlimited – which is now being shut down – while local streaming services are still in their nascent stages. Japan, like Germany, is facing up to the prospect of a jarring transition from physical sales straight to streaming.

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